Which Camera Is Best For Making Short Films?

Settling on the best camera for short films may be a daunting task especially when relying on luck. After a lot of frustrations and costs that came as a result of replacing my filming camera every now and then, I embarked on a research about the best camera for short films.

This time around, I was determined to ensure that I made a wise buying decision. I would test them to ensure that I wouldn’t repeat my mistake. Fortunately, the quest to identify which camera is best for making short films is long over. The extensive research I did gave me all the answers that I needed.

Which camera is best for making short films? For creative filmmaking, a DSLR camera is perfect. Or, you can opt for a mirrorless camera and for budget filmmaking, Smartphones are the best.

Though, It can differ from one person to another. For you to determine which one suits you best, it is essential to identify the intended use.

If you plan to do a home video kinda film ,a compact still camera,iPad, iPhone, and basic camcorder sounds good. If it is a documentary, settle for a pro camcorder or prosumer. Sports and outdoor activities will appreciate an Osmo camera or action camera. If your pocket is fat enough, consider a cinema camera. Otherwise, buy the likes of DSLR, mirrorless cameras and basic camcorder.

Since our interest focuses on the best camera for short films, the ideal options are three. Below is a discussion of the best in the market. Read on for a better buying decision of the best camera for short films.

What camera should I buy for filmmaking?

The camera that you should buy for filming should have the following:

  • It should be easy to use. That means that it should be comfortable to hold. In addition to that, using its controls should be a piece of cake. Depending on what you like between buttons and menus, you should choose as per your preferences.
  • It should also have manual controls. That’s because with time you will realize that automatic is overrated. It is advisable to find a camera that allows you to set the likes of sound levels, white balance, and exposure among others manually.
  • A good camera should have a recording format that is easy to use. It should also be compatible with your editing program. Options include Ultra HD (4K), Full HD (1080p) and HD (720p).
  • It should have a large sensor size. That’s because it will minimize diffraction and allow you to use small apertures. Therefore, you will get high-quality videos. They are ideal for low light filming. Equally important, they facilitate shallow focus effects. However, there are exceptions. Those shooting events or news should consider small sensors.
  • In case of lack of a camera stand or tripod, a good camera should have image stabilization mechanisms. Good examples include the in body image stabilization and optical stabilization. No one enjoys looking at shaky videos.
  • For the sound, one can consider the two options. One, settle for a camera with a great built-in camera. The other one is a port for an external microphone. Equally important, go for a camera that has a headphone port. That way, you will know about the sound while filming.
  • Lenses are also crucial. They determine how far a camera can zoom in or out. In reference to the 35mm equivalent, a 30mm is great. Nevertheless, 25mm is even better.

Best Camera for Short Films?

This section discusses in details the types of cameras to consider forfilmmaking. Since our focus is on making short films, there are high chancesthat the budget will be tight. That’s why we will discuss three options namely DSLR, mirrorless as well as a smartphone.

1. DSLR Camera:

A DSLR camera is one that has a mirror inside its body. Its design resembles that of the conventional 35mm films camera. Usually, the mirror reflects the light that comes from the object and through the lens. It passes through the prison before entering the viewfinder for a preview.

Then, you will press the shutter button. Upon doing that, there is a series of actions that occur. There is the flipping of the mirror, the opening of the shutter which leads to light falling onto the image sensor and capturing of the final image, eventually.

Advantages of DSLR Cameras?

Its long since the entrance of DSRL cameras entered the market. Over the period, some innovations have come into existence. One includes the invention of large sensor interchangeable lens camcorders. They may have hit the market by a storm.

However, the DSRL cameras proved to stand a chance against them. That’s because they are not only affordable but also accessible. The quality, as well as the ease of use, are other incredible features that make DSLRs rank as one of the best cameras for short films. Below is a detailed discussion of the advantages of DSLR cameras.

1. It facilitates steady shooting because of the minimal lag time

Thanks to their optical viewfinder, DSLR cameras see to it that you connect with the object excellently. Not even bright sunlight can come in your way. Sometimes, the sunshine is too much, but you still want to capture an image. Under such circumstances, it becomes almost impossible to use the LCD screen.

Fortunately, that will not be a problem if you are using a DSLR camera. Its viewfinder will ensure that you see the motion of your target in real time. Equally important, it will capture the image as soon as you press the shutter button. For that reason, you will get exactly what you wished to capture.

2. Expect high-quality images

Did you know that a large sensor is an added advantage when it comes to filming? It is responsible for capturing images excellently. In return, the image quality becomes the best. That is precisely what a DSLR offers.

The large CMOS sensors together with the advanced image processor work complementary to ensure that the quality of your image is top-notch. That is a guarantee regardless of the shooting scenarios.

3. They are perfect for high-speed shooting

Some moments last for a second or two, but you would do anything to capture them as they are. In that case, you will need a camera that can capture them as soon as they happen and before they disappear. With a great DSLR, I wouldn’t imagine a better option. They have fast frame rates.

In addition to that, they possess an optical viewfinder. Therefore, there will be high-speed autofocus and no moment will go un-captured including the drastic ones. Such shootings are often associated with capturing baby’s moments, pet’s activities, sports, and wildlife among others.

4. It is relatively flexible

The fact that a DSLR camera can be of great help in many shooting situations means that it is a significant investment. They have various lenses to allow that. Additionally, the flash options are abundant. Their lenses have wide apertures. That alone brings two benefits. The light that enters the camera is relatively much and consequently, faster shutter speeds. On the other hand, you have full control of your photos’ depth of field.

5. They eliminate red eye

The powerful flashguns of DSLR cameras are other significant components. Due to their ability to bounce the flashlight to the walls and ceilings, they end up diffusing the flash. For that reason, the red-eye becomes a thing of the past.

6. They are multipurpose

That means they are ideal for not only high-quality videos but also still photographs.

7. It works perfectly under low light situations

That is thanks to the large sensor camera. In addition to that, they have a powerful flash.

8. They can accommodate external microphones

It is no secret that inbuilt microphones are not as good as most of the external ones. It is also true beyond any reasonable doubt that the quality of the video is as important as the quality of sound. With DSLRs, you can buy an external microphone that also works excellently. It would be a perfect way to take your filming to a whole new level.

2. Mirrorless Camera:

When it comes to the mirrorless camera, its name pre-empts the meaning. Unlike the DSLR, it does not have a mirror. Instead, the light goes directly into the lens before proceeding to the image sensor. Then, the image sensor captures a preview which you can see on the rear screen.

In some cases, the mirrorless cameras do have another screen. It is inside an electronic viewfinder.

Advantages of Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless cameras are an invention thathas changed the filming sector for the better. They came to give it a freshtaste and a new experience. That was after many years of the reign of theDSLRs. 

However, it took most people a long time to notice this gem. After all, they were not only plain but also simple. If you still have that mindset, then you are in for a rude shock. Their evolution over the years will surprise you. To get a clear understanding of why a mirrorless camera is the best camera for short films, continue reading.

1. They are compact

The fact that mirrorless cameras occupy a small space is a huge advantage. They are small due to the absence of the hardware between the viewfinder, sensor, and lens. It makes them a perfect traveling companion. For backpackers, the mirrorless cameras save them a lot of space. For that reason, they get to travel with ease and without carrying bulky luggage.

2. They are also lightweight

In addition to being compact, the cameras are also lightweight. That promotes its viability when it comes to backpacking as well as ultralight travel. When it comes to traveling, even an extra ounce can be a problem. That’s why this is another advantage. Equally important you can easily cover a considerable ground without getting tired. Carrying it around for a long time will also not bother you. In fact, you can hang it on your shoulder for a long time without straining. Last but not least, the camera is at the reach whenever you need it.

3. Hybrid Autofocus

Thanks to that the hybrid autofocus, almost every videographer has shifted to the mirrorless camera. The feature is a combination of phase detection and contrast detection. The former ensures that you the image focus is perfect for clarity when filming.

On the other hand, contrast detection provides that the capture is accurate regardless of low light conditions. The two makes images clear irrespective of the circumstances. In addition to that, you get the first operation even when using the live view.

4. Mirrorless cameras have full-time live view LCD Screen

That eliminates the surprise that comes when you compare what you expected and what you actually got. With any mirrorless camera, you will get an image that resembles what you see on the screen. That comes to your rescue when trying a new technique or under poor lighting conditions.

5. Manual focus aid

That gives you total control over the image you will capture. The manual focus in the electric viewfinder will see to it that you achieve that. One of them is a button that magnifies the image. That facilitates fine-tuning in the best way possible.

Do you know about the split prisms that you get from old film cameras? The Fujifilm mode will offer similar features. Another great feature is the focus peaking mode.

6. White balance

When the color conditions are not conducive, white balance can be of great help. It ensures that the color balance matches that of the scene.

7. They are also inconspicuous

Are you tired of missing out when it comes to locations that prohibit professional cameras and tripods? If yes, shift to mirrorless cameras. They will ensure that you hardly grab the attention. Neither onlookers nor thieves notice them quickly.

8. Presence of electronic viewfinder capabilities

Although they are yet to match up to the DSLRs’ optical viewfinder quality, the electronic viewfinders are great. What they can do is impressive. That also makes it an advantage.


In this day and age, the resolution of the HD quality is evolving day by day. Filmmakers like Steven Soderberg, Claude Leloch are making feature films with their iPhones. It is a smart tool today and in future can challenge the DSLRs and Mirrorless.

They are handy and powerful. There are apps available today to control their adjustments manually.  Also, there are cheaper ones which make make the job easy for a newbie. 

Advantages of using Smartphone for Filming

For obvious reasons, the explanation of a smartphone will pass. However, we will unveil the benefits of using them for making short films in a moment. It is no secret that the quality of smartphones is improving day in day out.

Nowadays, some are capable of recording high definition videos. That makes them a perfect candidate when thinking about the best camera for short films. What benefits do you stand to reap if you settle for them? Read on for detailed answers!

1. Remarkable Size

Smartphones are small. That makes the mobile phones easy to carry around and access once a need arises. That makes them perfect if you will be filming for a long period or walking around while doing the same.

2. They are also inconspicuous

In cases where the crowd does not want to be shot, you can do that without raising the alarm. As a journalist, it is a good trick that has made others have exclusive coverage.

3. Supporting Apps

Whether you use iOS or Android, some apps take filming to a whole new level. They improve that functionality. In addition to that, they offer great editing as well as incredible digital effects. Last but not least, you can easily use them to view, upload and distribute the videos.

4. Affordability

Short films have smaller budgets than their long counterparts. Therefore, buying a digital camera may reduce profits. In extreme cases, buying one can result into loss altogether. For you to avoid that, it is advisable to settle for a good smartphone for the filming instead.

5. Versatility

Once you buy, a digital camera, it goes without a say that you can only take photos and videos. However, that is not the case when it comes to cell phones. They can do other things. Therefore, one will be killing two birds with one stone. Is that not an advantage?

6. The quality is great

If you settle for the right smartphone, you can rest assured that you will get high-quality videos.

7. Accessibility

As the wise men say, the best camera for short films is the one that you have with when a moment worth capturing comes about. Due to that, you need a good smartphone since you will have it with you most of the times. Additionally, you don’t have to carry a cumbersome camera.

Which DSLR camera is best for short films?

When it comes to answering about which DSLR camera is best for short filming, Nikon D850 will carry the day. Let’s take a look at why it is the best camera for short films when it comes to DSLR cameras.

About Nikon D850

Nikon D850 is a DSLR camera manufactured by a well-renowned brand. That is why it doesn’t come as a surprise that it is the best DSLR camera for short films. When it comes to versatility, the Nikon D850 leads while the rest follows. It is undoubtedly the best full-frame DSLR. We are about to unveil why is it the best camera for short films in this category?

You can check this camera on Amazon

Why we recommend Nikon D850 as the best DSLR camera for making films

  • Among all the DSLR cameras designed for short films, the Nikon D850 stands out because of the following reasons.
  • It has many features that make it very versatile. As a result, the camera meets the needs of almost all the photographers.
  • In addition to that, it has 45.7 megapixels which are perfect.
  • The full-frame sensor is another plus.
  • It also supports 4K for great videos at 30p.
  • If you are an action or sports photographer, its support for XQD flash memory makes it a perfect choice.
  • It can support Bluetooth transfers because of the Snapbridge 2.0 wireless connectivity system.
  • Captures are fast and accurate due to its 153.point autofocus system.
  • The burst mode allows it to capture between 7 frames per seconds and 9 frames per seconds.
  • Its image and video quality are also impressive.

Best Mirrorless Camera for Filmmaking

If you are looking for the best mirrorless camera for filmmaking, Panasonic Lumix GH5 is the ultimate option. What makes it the best camera for short films? Let’s find out why!

About Panasonic GH5

Panasonic GH5 is not only a mirrorless but also supports 4k videos. It is a camera that won’t disappoint at all. If you do both still photography and video recording and want to stay on top of the game. Look no further since you have it all in this camera. From functionality to design, this is in the lead. Read on for reasons to buy it without hesitation.

You can check this camera on Amazon

Why we recommend Panasonic GH5 the best mirrorless camera for filmmaking

This segment explains why this is the best camera for short films as far as mirrorless cameras are concerned.

  • It is ideal for both still photography and videos.
  • Its performance is great thanks to the Venus Engine processor.
  • One can record 4K video up to 60 frames per second.
  • Its 20.3 Megapixel digital live MOS guarantees high-quality images and videos.
  • It has an advanced DFD autofocus system for speedy and accurate shots.
  • For the videos, you should also expect Full HD video and continuous shooting at 180 fps and 12 fps, respectively.
  • It has improvements such as 6K PHOTO and 4K PHOTO at 30 fps and 60 fps, respectively, in comparison with its predecessors.
  • Its sensitivity goes up to ISO 25600.
  • The camera also has an inbuilt 5-axis sensor stabilization.

Best Budget Smartphone for Filming

The best budget smartphone for filming is HONOR 7x. It is one of the few smartphones that can match up to the standards of the digital cameras when it comes to making short films. How can a smartphone have the best camera for short films? Let’s look at it in details.

About HONOR 7X

Honor 7X is a smartphone that is on record as the best-value phone. The price point and what you get are incomparable. If you are budget conscious, this has you covered. Did you know that it is the first mid-range device that has a display ratio of 18:9? That is not the only reason as to why it is on our list. We are about to unveil why it is a great option.

You can check this camera on Amazon

Why do we recommend HONOR 7X as the best budget smartphone for filming?

As surprising as it may be, this smartphone offers the best camera for short films even with a tight budget. The reasons are as follows.

  • The first and foremost is value for money. It is one of the few phones with high performance and a reasonable price at the same time.
  • It has a high performance as a result of its high CPU capabilities and raw speed. For instance, it has 4GB of RAM. On the other hand, it uses a 2.36GHZ octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 659 processor.
  • It also has a camera application that facilitates simple usage including filming.
  • The smartphone works perfectly under good lighting conditions.
  • Its automatic settings also offer excellent images.
  • The main camera is 16 megapixels. In addition to that, it has a secondary 2 megapixels lens. That is good enough for a great capture.
  • Its camera also supports the bokeh effect with blurred backgrounds.
  • An aperture of f/2.2 is no joke either.
  • It supports not only phase detection but also high dynamic range.
  • It also supports Full HD 1080p videos at 30 frames per second.


Additional Question:

What is the Cheapest Camera for Short Filmmaking?

The cheapest camera for short filmmaking is the great Canon 80D. When it comes to settling for a cheap thing, you have to ensure that quality is not compromised. With various brands offering similar products, it is advisable not to overlook the price variance.

Why would you buy something at a high cost when you can get a similar one for a fair price? This discussion will enlighten you about why Canon 80D is a high recommendation.

About Canon 80D

Canon 80D is a DSLR camera that had great features for better photography. It is the camera for short films due to some things. First, its image quality is excellent. Equally important, the performance is top-notch. Everyone is looking for a terrific image and video quality.

You can check this camera on Amazon

Fortunately, that’s what the camera offers. It is also affordable despite the great features. Isn’t it amazing that it is not only cheap but also the best camera for short films? Let’s find out why!

Why we recommend Canon 80D as the cheapest camera for short filmmaking

Let us take a look at the reasons why this is a worthwhile choice.

  • This camera is a great value for your money. The camera has not only high performance but also fantastic features. With all that and what you get in return, it is worth every penny that you spend on it.
  • It is a 24 megapixels pixels.
  • Its 45-point autofocus system ensures that it covers a large part of the frame.
  • It also has a fast shutter speed.
  • The burst speed is as high as 7 frames per second hence perfect for action scenes.
  • It will not disappoint if you are shooting Full HD 1080 movies. It facilitates up to 60 frames per seconds.
  • The autofocusing is impressive thanks to the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system. In addition to that, it is a guru when it comes to subject tracking.
  • You will monitor audio quality because it also has a headphone jack.
  • The other thing is that it is an upgrade of its great predecessor, the Canon 70D.


The above discussion leaves no stone unturned regarding which camera is best for making short films. From DSLRs to mirrorless cameras, you have the necessary information to settle for the best camera for short films.

There is also the use of smartphones for filming in details. If you heed the advice, you will definitely take home the best camera for short films. We hope that making that momentous buying decision will be a breeze.

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